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Tuesday 22 November 2022

14th to 20th November – A Long-eared Owl ringed

Moderate westerly and northwesterly winds at the start of the week calmed briefly on the 19th before becoming strong again. It was mostly dry with rain on the 16th.

At least four Teal remained on Pondsbury all week with no other wildfowl of note. A single Woodpigeon was seen in Millcombe on four occasions. A number of Oystercatchers remain around the coast with a maximum of five on the 17th. Rain overnight on the 14th and 15th brought in a few Woodcock. One was in Millcombe Valley on the morning of the 15th and three were recorded on the morning of the 15th along with five Snipe. Two Great Northern Diver were seen on the 15th. One was feeding in the Landing Bay and the other flew low over Rocket Pole heading south.

A Merlin arrived on the 18th and was seen feeding around South West Field again on the 20th. The Hen Harrier was seen up until the 18th with no sign since.  At least one Sparrowhawk and Kestrel continue to hunt around the south of the island, often targeting tired migrant Chaffinch. On the morning of the 18th an alarm calling Blackbird alerted to the presence of something in the Blackthorn at the top of Millcombe. On inspection a Long-eared Owl flew out of cover and tried to land in the Pines before being chased by Crows over towards St John’s Valley. That evening , mist nets were put up in St John’s Valley and a juvenile female Long-eared Owl was ringed. This is only the fifth to be ringed on the island, the last in 2008.

Long-eared Owl, St  John's Valley © Stuart Cossey

Hen Harrier, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Possibly the last Blackcap of the year were seen on the 17th, with three in Millcombe. Five Chiffchaff were counted on the 15th with four on the 19th and 20th. Two Goldcrest are still being seen regularly in Millcombe.

Calm weather on the 19th encouraged some passerine migration. Thirteen was the highest count of Skylark all week. Starling were also on the move with totals of 485 on the 17th and 450 on the 19th. There was a big arrival of Blackbird on the 19th with at least 59 seen around the southern end of the island. The highest counts of Fieldfare and Redwing were on the 17th with 34 and 229 respectively. A single Mistle Thrush was by Pointless Wall on the 14th and 15th.

There continue to be occasional sightings of Black Redstart . Three were recorded on the 14th, two on the 15th and a single on the 19th. Three Pied Wagtail were seen in Barton Field on the 14th with only single flyovers on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th. Rock Pipits are starting to be more common in the fields on top of the island as the rough weather forces them away from their usual coastal feeding grounds. On calmer days small numbers of Meadow Pipits are seen flying south with 25 on the 15th and 22 on the 19th. An Olive-backed Pipit was heard flying over the Stonecrusher on the 18th, if accepted by the British Birds Rarity Committee, this would be the fifth record for Lundy.

Chaffinch are still passing through the island with over 150 counted on the 14th and 16th and a high count of 308 on the 19th. Brambling were occasionally heard with passing Chaffinch flocks including three on the 19th, two on the 14th and singles on the 15th, 16th and 17th. Other finches are less common with two Linnet on the 14th and a Lesser Redpoll on the 29th. Ten Siskin on the 14th was the highest count all week with three days without any records. Five and six Goldfinch were seen on the 14th and 15th.  A female Reed Bunting was by Pointless wall on the 15th and 16th.

Reed Bunting, Pointless Wall © Stuart Cossey

In non-avian news, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was shooed out of the Shop on the 18th. Without a frequent boat and fewer visitors the Grey Seals in the Landing Bay are hauling out and sleeping all over the place, including the Jetty!

Grey Seal, Jetty © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Richard Ware, Sue Waterfield

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